In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, here in the Northeast, property cleanup is at the top of everyone's to-do list. Make sure to take the time to conduct job hazard analysis for the cleanup tasks and determine if you have the internal resources and skills to complete the cleanup safely.
Storm cleanup is one of the most dangerous tasks that can be performed with a chainsaw, placing the operator and fellow workers in challenging and unpredictable environments. Unstable elements in the canopy (including as widow makers and spring poles), not to mention uneven ground and exposed root systems are all real hazards for the chainsaw operator. Experience and highly developed skills are the last lines of defense for the chainsaw operator.
Mechanical logging reduces the exposure to many hazards that the manual logger has limited ability to control. If your chainsaw operators are occasional users with limited experience and training, or your internal resources are unable to meet the demands of extensive storm cleanup, sub-contracting with a reputable logging company will transfer the risk and protect your most valuable resource, your employees.
If some level of cleanup at your operations is to be done with a chainsaw, you should complete a job hazard analysis which will help you review hazards and controls with your operators. For a sample job hazard analysis form, go to MEMIC Safety Director, or try this link to the OSHA website.